HealthManagement, Volume 20 - Issue 3, 2020


The serious health crisis in France, Italy, Spain and so many other countries highlights the crucial importance of access to medical oxygen for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Hospitals are faced with the need for increasing supplies of oxygen necessary for the survival of patients. The oxygen delivered to them is produced in factories and then bottled or transported in liquid form to the hospital. In current conditions, while oxygen requirements are exploding and we are all encouraged to limit our movements, this pattern has shown its limits.

There is a solution to avoid the countless comings and goings of trucks needed to get oxygen to the hospital. This solution is called an oxygen generator. It has existed for over 20 years, but is far from being widespread, especially in Europe.

However, on-site medical oxygen production only has advantages: an oxygen generator produces medical oxygen continuously, at low cost and without requiring transportation or handling. Since 2011, European regulations have existed, which authorize the use of oxygen produced by generators in hospitals. Oxygen generators are medical devices, and the medical oxygen produced by a generator is registered in the European Pharmacopoeia and fully complies with the therapeutic requirements in hospitals.

NOVAIR, a French company based in Roissy, France, and a pioneer of this solution in Europe, has been developing and manufacturing oxygen generators in France for over 20 years. Its solutions are exported all over the world, and NOVAIR has thus equipped thousands of hospitals and clinics to self-produce the oxygen they need from the ambient air. It is time to encourage hospitals to adopt this solution, which is a source of autonomy for their oxygen supply and a contribution to reducing the CO2 emissions, an ecofriendly gesture for the planet.

How can on-site oxygen production provide an effective response to the increased oxygen requirements faced by our hospitals?

When a hospital is equipped with an oxygen generator, it becomes its own oxygen supplier: oxygen is produced on-site, on demand, from ambient air. The hospital thus becomes autonomous: it no longer has recourse to oxygen deliveries in bulk or in bottles and is no longer dependent on the capacity of its supplier to deliver.

Thousands of hospitals around the world are already using medical oxygen generators. Today, this autonomy is within the reach of all health establishments.

An oxygen generator in primary and secondary sources: an oxygen reserve in case of increased needs

The production capacity of a generator is sized according to the specific needs of each hospital. For hospitals with operating theaters and/or intensive care, the generators are doubled to provide double capacity compared to the nominal need. This oxygen reserve is precious in the event of an abnormal increase of needs, such as the situation we are living today.

With oxygen needs exploding due to the COVID-19 pandemic, oxygen generators’ benefits prove to be more obvious than ever. For all types of hospitals, the production of medical oxygen on-site and its delivery on demand, without any logistic issues or CO2 emissions, is truly the oxygen supply format of the 21st century. 

Disclosure of conflict of interest: Point-of-View articles are the sole opinion of the author(s) and they are part of the Corporate Engagement or Educational Community Programme.